Question about Processors?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Getinkedtattoos, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Getinkedtattoos macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2009
    Chicago Il.
    OK I realize that this may seem like a really noobish question but can someone explain how processors are measured?? For instance I have always looked at the MHz as a way to determine the speed of the processor, and equated it to the speed of the computer, however I am begining to think that I have it all wrong. I am looking to buy a new (Well Used but new for me) Mac, I currently have an old G4 with a 733MHz Processor, I realize that is unbelievably slow and I can tell it's slow every day when I'm using it. I consider myself to be a power user as I am on my Mac for a minimum of 11 hours a day and have at least 4 programs running at all times WHILE I am downloading multiple files, and uploading files at the same time, and usually copying files from my desktop to my external hard drive. Let me just say that my Mac slows to a snails pace while doing all of this and frequently finder will freeze up with the beachball of death (I did however upgrade my RAM from 512 - 1.25 which has helped a little bit)!!! Anyway that is all besides the point, I am curious about Processors as I look at an iMac with a 1.85GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, and then an iMac with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and the prices are significantly different, so I always assumed that the higher the frequency the faster and more effiecient the processor is, and the faster the computer will run. "BUT" Looking at much older systems like this old Dell crappy laptop that I have laying around and it has a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 Processor, I don't understand because at my figuring wouldn't a 2.4 GHz Processor BLOW AWAY say a 1.85 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor?? If so then why is this old dell #1 VERY SLOW and also VERY CHEAP?? I am completely confused, I have started to spend so much time on my computer that I REALLY want to understand what is going on with them, Because I am in the market and I want to be able to make the most educated decision I can. PLEASE, any help will be greatly appreciated, Get Inked!!!
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    It's called the... well, it WAS called the Megahertz Myth, but we're out of that now.

    Gigahertz myth, then. It states that clock speed is virtually meaningless.

    A 2GHz Core 2 Duo will smoke a 4.6GHz Pentium 4.

    It all has to do with the architecture.
  3. Luigi239 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    The Pentium 4 architecture was built solely for getting a higher clock speed, meaning more megahertz. Now a days, Intel realized they needed to take a different approach, so they moved on to the Core, Core 2, and i7 architectures. All of these blow away the pentium 4 due to the way the processor handles instructions and is able to execute them.

    Maybe not the most technical explanation ever, but just be sure in the fact that any Core branded processor is going to blow away a Pentium 4, regardless of the clock speed.
  4. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    The main reason they moved away from single core processors was because Intel was running out of ways to keep them cool enough to operate efficiently. Thats why we have dual, quad and octi core now.
  5. Getinkedtattoos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2009
    Chicago Il.
    Cool, Thanx guys. That actually helped me out alot!! I have been reading up on them a little more also as I am counting down until I get my new Mac. I am leaning more toward the Refurbished iMac 24" 3.06 GHz with the NVidia Card upgrade and 500 GB HDD, I'm not 100% yet though as I don't know weather to go with the 24" 2.8 GHz 320 GB HDD "NEW" as their the same price, only one's an Apple Refurb and the other is new with a loss to Processor speed and storage capacity...
  6. madog macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2004
    Korova Milkbar
    There are tools out there that let you actually disable a core, so you can imagine it as a dual processor though it's more complicated (dies and cores and whatnot).

    The current processor is the Core 2 Duo, as opposed to the previous Core Duo (possibly just the second generation of the duo line, but I'm not familiar). The first generation Macs to have Intel's had the Core Solos(edit: thanks to SL08), then the Core Duos. If you have the choice I would recommend getting a 2 Duo instead.

    So, like the others have said, a Core 2 Duo will blow away any single core processor like the Pentiums and those before it.

    Official Apple refurbs can be a good investment, though I would highly recommend AppleCare if you do (which together can still be cheaper than a new machine).
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The Mac Mini had a Core Solo processor if I remember correctly, so the first Mac's to have Intels were the Core Solos.

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